Our first house was teensy and charming and perfect in every way except that we couldn't all actually fit in it, and it was in a bad neighborhood that was only getting worse.
But it had the most perfect backyard of any backyard. Ever. It was huge and surrounded by giant old trees. The soil was rich and smelled strong and heady. Anything would grow there, and I took full advantage of that fact. I planted an entire fence with honeysuckle and jasmine and the smell of sweet tea and my childhood wafted through every evening. Ferns and impatiens spread under tree canopies and the camellia bush exploded in so much color it was near obscene. The small basil plant I plopped down one day grew into a bush so big that guests weren't allowed to leave that house without garbage bags full of its leaves.
Our house now is bigger and has high ceilings and enough bathrooms and is in a safe cul-de-sac and a good school district. I love this house. But the soil here is better suited for pottery than gardening, and everything I plant grows slowly if at all. We've taken a few small steps toward improving the soil with compost and amenders and such. Progress is slow and time is short.
But I haven't given up. Tonight I got home with enough daylight and cool breeze left to pull some weeds and make some assessments. The soil is progressing and I even spotted a couple of worms. Maybe next year we'll have made enough headway to plant some tomatoes and squash.
But if not, I'll continue my easy strolls around the perimeter of the yard, glass of wine in hand and baby playing nearby. I'm not going to be competing at any county fairs so I can afford to be casual in my approach to gardening. I'll rejoice in my small and occasional victories over weeds and slugs, and look forward to a garden that will, one day, produce a salad.